Investing in our Athletes by Increasing Funding to Canada’s Athlete Assistance Program

CALGARY – The Government of Canada believes it is important to support our high-performance athletes to allow them to continually strive for the podium.
Today, the Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, announced increased funding to the Athlete Assistance Program (AAP). The investment will increase annual funding by an additional $5 million for a total of $33 million, which represents an 18 percent increase.
AAP funding helps to relieve some of the financial pressures associated with preparing for and participating in international sport. It also helps high-performance Canadian athletes with their living, training and education as well as supplemental support so that they can focus on their day-to-day commitments while training intensively in pursuit of world-class performances, or to obtain a post-secondary education by providing tuition support.
In addition, this year marks the AAP’s 40th anniversary. Since 1977, the program has invested more than $512 million in more than 15,000 Canadian athletes to help support the cost of training and living, tuition and other special needs.


“Our athletes have been and continue to be sources of inspiration for all Canadians, especially our youth. I am proud of the direct support that the Government of Canada has provided to our athletes over the last 40 years, including today’s new investment. This increase in funding will continue to allow athletes to strive for the podium, and I, along with all Canadians, look forward to cheering them on at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.”
-The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
“For many athletes, athlete assistance funding from the government is the only source of income they have while training to compete on behalf of our country. This increase to the Athlete Assistance Program will allow athletes to have less financial concern and concentrate more on training as they prepare for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Thank you to the federal government for delivering on this budget commitment.”
-Jeff Christie, two-time Olympian and Chair of the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Athlete Commission
“I train and compete because I love my sport. I also do it because I am proud to represent Canada on the world stage. However, it is undeniable that this increased funding will help me spend more time doing what I love. Thank you to the Government of Canada for understanding the value of investing in its athletes and the value of sport.”
-Tammy Cunnington, Rio 2016 Paralympian, three-time Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games medallist

Quick Facts

  • Athletes who receive AAP funding are referred to as carded athletes. AAP support is also known as carding. Of these, 15 percent is attributed to athletes with a physical disability. There are also development cards, which are intended to support the developmental needs of younger athletes who clearly demonstrate the potential to achieve the senior card international criteria, but are not yet able to meet the senior card criteria.
  • This new investment will directly assist approximately 1,900 athletes across Canada and will take place immediately. Sport Canada will issue retroactive increases for all Living and Training allowance payments eligible for the 2017-18 fiscal year.
  • The Government of Canada is the single largest investor in Canada’s amateur sport system.

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